Sunday, December 28, 2014

Do you validate?

Truth time folks. I don't always feel 100% fulfilled in my new role as a mother. Let me give you a little background. I'm pretty sure I came out of the womb hard-wired to be a people pleaser and rule-follower. I was the kid that teachers loved in school. Eager to please, meet deadlines, and over-achieve. My senior year in high school the faculty voted on 10 students who exemplified citizenship and leadership and you guessed it, I was one of them. I've thrived in jobs where I get frequent feedback on my work and excel in the end-of-year review. It's kind of my jam. "Exceeds Expectations" CHECK, "Bonus Recommended" CHECK.

Now that I'm not working full time outside of the home, there is a deficiency in the validation department. I'm still doing some consulting work, but it's not the same as being in the office, getting the "Atta Girl" after a successful project is delivered or major kudos from your team after you wrap an event.

My biggest projects and events now center around my 10.5 month old son.  Sometimes the doldrums of the day-to-day can wear on you. Feed, Diaper, Play, Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Don't get me wrong...the rewards of parenthood are rich! When he smiles a big gummy grin at me, tries to repeat a word I'm teaching him, or masters a new milestone, I am so overwhelmed with pride! These moments are precious, and I'm not discounting their value. But there is something to be said for finding value in myself outside of my role as "Arlo's Mom."

When I first started to really think this through, I gave myself a stern talking to. "You are a grown ass woman, Lindsey! Validate yourself!" But then I backed off and realized that this is part of who I am. I do feel that I bring value to my family in my role as a mother, but it might not fill up my cup completely. That's okay. In fact, it shouldn't have to. There is a lot more to me than just being a mother. 

Have any of you faced similar feelings upon becoming a parent? 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Hustle

This pic popped up in my Instagram feed a few weeks ago from a fellow blogger (follow her @keepingupwiththehaneys) and it immediately resonated with me.

Be Still. Then Hustle. My days usually have a handful of still moments, usually when rocking my sleepy 10 month old, but I'm so used to multitasking CONSTANTLY that I often rush through these moments to get on with my to-do list. It's always there at the back of my mind. Project plans, emails to respond to, phone calls to return, laundry needing folding, and sweet lord when was the last time I actually mopped our floors?!

I need balance. I need a plan. I need to find a way to cherish these fleeting baby moments with Arlo while not completely neglecting the rest of my obligations. I CANNOT believe that this boy will be a year old in less than two months. He's tall for his age and is already starting to look less like a baby and more like a toddler (sniff, sniff) and is preparing to take his first steps any day now. 

Life is not going to slow down. All I can do is try to manage my response to the whirlwind of the day-to-day. I will be still in those quiet moments. Sniff my baby's head while he dozes and let him sleep in my arms a few minutes longer before transferring him to his crib. I'll gaze at his eyelashes and perfect little toes with wonder, and I'll photograph the hell out of all of this because I can't help myself (@thosegages on Instagram). Then I'll put him down, sneak away and hustle to get the work of life done. I'll sacrifice sleep and stay up a little later after he goes down at night to make deadlines, catch up on laundry and maybe eventually mop the floors. 

I'm eager to hear your tips for time management! How do you keep up with littles, your work, and household? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Giving Thanks

In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is encouraging people to help spread awareness about infertility. This month, as we all have Thanksgiving on our minds, they are inviting bloggers to share what they are thankful for and specifically why they are thankful to RESOLVE and the people who support the infertility community.

It's that time of year. A time to pause, take stock, and be grateful. I always tend to feel a little guilty that it takes a national holiday to make me truly reflect on what I am thankful for, but in lieu of those guilty feelings, I'm going to revel in a spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving!

I am thankful for:
  • Medical technology in the field of reproductive endocrinology. A mere 36 years ago, I would not have had the privilege of carrying a child. I'm incredibly thankful for the brave pioneers in this field!
  • Our incredible partners in fertility. The doctors, nurses, embryologists and staff at Conceptions Reproductive Associates in Denver truly became our partners. We felt empowered, informed, and most importantly loved and cared for. In the process of IVF, things can get terribly clinical and it was such a relief to have the warmth and support of their staff.
  • Our beautiful egg donor. I do not know her name, but I have her health history and a few precious photos of her as a child. She provided an incredible gift to us. Healthy eggs, good genes, and blue eyes and curly hair that traveled from her DNA to my little boy. Thankful doesn't do it justice. There will always be a piece in my heart just for her.
  • The resources and support of RESOLVEResolve, the National Infertility Association, was established in 1974. It is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders. Beyond this, they have taken great strides to remove the stigma from infertility and have encouraged those affected to speak out and share their stories. They have created a rich community of men and women who are now informed and supported. RESOLVE also works diligently to educate our legislators about the disease of infertility, the importance of tax credits, insurance coverage, and the dangerous implications of personhood legislation. Their work is vital to 1 in 8 people who are faced with infertility.
  • The women I have never met in person, but have left an indelible mark with their support. The IF community online is remarkable. I started this little blog with hopes of having a therapeutic outlet and gained a rich tapestry of online friends and cheerleaders.  JessahAmandaJess, and Em are just a few of the AMAZING women who have helped make our journey a little less lonely. 
  • The fact that our DE-IVF worked the first time. Building your family with a donor egg and IVF is no small feat. Insurance rarely covers reproductive diagnosis and treatment. In our case, we paid 100% of treatment out of pocket. The costs were staggering and we are supremely grateful that our first treatment resulted in pregnancy. 
  • My husband. He watched me break down with the news that the odds of me conceiving with my own eggs naturally were less than 2%, and less than 8% even with the assistance of IUI and IVF. He provided an incredible emotional support, stood by me, injected me, and held me when I cried. I've seen marriages falter with an infertility diagnosis and I am so thankful that our diagnosis forged us together and made us stronger.
  • An uneventful pregnancy and swift birth. I think if you have to take 2" needles in your keister twice a day for 12 weeks just to get pregnant, you should get the courtesy of a relatively easy and uneventful pregnancy and birth. Aside from your normal pregnancy issues (uncomfortable, shortness of breath, heartburn) I was very lucky to be healthy and happy during those 41 weeks.  I couldn't have wished for an easier childbirth. I pray for all my fellow IF sisters that you get the same!
  • My son. I am so grateful for this little boy that I doubted I would ever hold, but who owns my heart completely. I've heard people say "pride and joy" for many years, but now having experienced it firsthand, I think I know what they mean. :)
  • The opportunity to share our story. I've always hoped that our story would provide support, encouragement, hope and information to those struggling with infertility. Letting go of the shame that can surround infertility has been incredibly freeing. Keeping your struggles under wraps only leaves you to suffer in silence. 
So, what are you thankful for this year? (this is not limited to infertility) I'd love to hear from you! 

~Moderate Momma (Lindsey)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Letting you in on our secret

So, I'm just going to come out and say it with no preamble. I bed share. Now before you all jump up with pitchforks and torches, let me tell you a little bit about how and why we got here.

Before Arlo was born, I purchased a used co-sleeper to place right next to our bed, for what I thought would be just the first few months of his life. Then we would transition to his crib...across the his own room. You know what they say about the best laid plans right? 

For the first few months he did sleep in his itty bitty co-sleeper, right next to the bed. But as he got older and bigger (this child came into the world at 23.75" long for crying out loud!) the co-sleeper was no longer an option. We tried the pack & play, but he was so low to the ground that it made night time feedings difficult and he did not go back to sleep easily in that contraption. So I pulled that beautiful baby into the bed with me. Safely and cautiously I might add. There are loads of resources on how to safely bed share with your littles and I highly recommend Dr. Sears' website if you want to learn more. 

Here we are and Arlo is almost 9 months old and we are still happily bed sharing. He still naps in his crib each day and when I put him down for the night around 7:00, he goes to sleep in his room in his crib (I don't feel safe leaving him alone in our room on the bed without me, and momma and daddy need our evening downtime/alone-time). When he wakes around 10:00 I scoop him up, soothe him and bring him to bed.  We both get the most sleep this way and it works for our family.

So why the blog post? I have been keeping this largely a secret because of the strong opinions bed sharing often elicits and I'm quite frankly tired of it. So I decided to out myself. I'm a bed sharer, and I love it. I love sleeping next to the sweetest little chunk of baby there ever was. I love getting 5 - 7 hour stretches of sleep, rolling over, feeding him re-diapering him, and both of us dozing back off for another stretch of snooze until it's time to wake up for the day. I love feeling close to my little man and meeting his physical and emotional needs at night time without having to stumble bleary-eyed across the house.

This is not an attempt to convert anyone to bed sharing. If sleeping separately works for you, I think that's awesome. As I've said before, I think the best decisions you can make as a parent are the ones that keep you and your family happy and healthy. Bed sharing just happens to do that for the Gages.

I don't know how long we will do this. Each night he sleeps a little longer in his crib before crying out for me, and I think he may be ready to let go of his night-time feeding soon. When that happens, we may make the leap to his own room, but until then we snuggle safely in our bed and I don't care who knows it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why your mom was wrong and you probably are too

When I FINALLY got pregnant, I enthusiastically began reading everything about pregnancy and life with a newborn that I could get my hands on. Books, blogs, pamphlets from my doctor, you name it. I remember feeling giddy with all the knowledge available at my fingertips and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information all at once. 

I researched and scoured safety websites to pick out the top-rated infant carseat system for our little man. I went to a fire station and asked for tips on installation. I watched YouTube videos for properly buckling in your little one and once he was here, followed each step to make sure he was safe and sound. Yet, some of my fondest memories are of bouncing around the rear cargo area in my family's Suburban during cross country road trips. No safety seats, no seat belts, just a pallet of blankets, our favorite stuffed toy and the world's longest game of I-Spy. 

Once our little one was here, fresh and new and wobbly in this world I wanted to do everything I could to nurture and protect him. I knew that you should always place an infant on their back to sleep to reduce their risk of SIDS, but after yet another sleepless night with a colicky, reflux-ridden newborn, I pulled that baby into my bed and slept with him against my chest. It was a fitful night. Mainly for me as I stressed about how he wasn't on his back in his co-sleeper. Arlo, on the other hand, slept for the longest stretch since birth that night. When I told my mother this she said "We always put our babies to sleep on their bellies. It was just the way we were told to do things." 

Fast forward 4 months. We began to introduce Arlo to solids (not sure why we call them that since they are essentially pureed within an inch of being liquids). I told my mom how he wasn't quite ready since he still thrusts his tongue out and isn't sure how to swallow food from a spoon just yet. She responded, "Oh, just put that rice cereal directly in his bottle. He'll love it, and he'll sleep through the night." At my next appointment, I asked about the rice cereal in his bottle and she advised against it saying it can lead to overfeeding and obesity. 

It's always something, right?

All of this got me to thinking about how we parent. We listen to other parents, talk to our pediatricians, and search the internet in a vain attempt to piece together some semblance of a user's manual for these tiny little people. Spoiler alert...there isn't one. We're all just doing the best we can with the information at hand, just like our parents did. Our parents weren't wrong, or oblivious to our safety, they were just doing what worked and what was understood to be the best at the time. For crying out loud, in the 1930's in America, women put their babies in outdoor cages hanging from windows! 

It makes me wonder what the future of infant care will be 30 years from now. I can just picture me standing over Arlo's shoulder as he tries to get his baby down to sleep whispering how we always swaddled our babies and him rolling his eyes and telling me how the most recent AAP study firmly recommends against it. 

Let's be gracious to our mother's and hope our kiddos will do the same to us! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Badassery and other musings

We've all done it. Deflected a compliment with a self-depricating quip, downplayed a talent or gift as "oh, it's nothing", guffawed when someone tells us we look pretty and reply "yeah, if only I could lose the last of this baby weight." I caught myself doing this recently and realized it has become a pattern, and I'd like it to stop.

I'm not sure when it became the norm for so many women and mothers to brush off our badassery (yes, I said badassery). Maybe it's just reverting to some old-school expectation for us to be demure, soft-spoken, ladies who eat cucumber tea sandwiches and always sit with our ankles crossed. I don't know about you, but I have opinions, love a good steak and find myself crawling around on all fours with my baby more often than sitting in any sort of dainty position!

The other day I was at the park with my 8 month old son and snapped this pic of the two of us. Get a load of how he looks at me:

He looks at me like I can do ANYTHING. When he cries and I pick him up, he is instantly happier. When I walk in a room he lights up like I am a supermodel, Pulitzer Prize winner, and Olympian all rolled into one. I don't want to do anything to diminish his faith in me. I know I will stumble, be cross, and lose my patience and some of that beautiful veneer he sees will smudge away and show that mommy is human, but why aid that process by diminishing myself and my worth in his eyes? 

I want my son to grow up with a healthy sense of confidence and what better way for me to do that than exhibit it myself. I'm not suggesting egotism or becoming overtly prideful, just simply seeing our value and being okay with recognition. I also want him to grow up and value and respect women. I want him to have an example of a strong, capable, talented, loving mother so that when he's older he will see and value those characteristics in a future partner.

It's a lofty goal, but I will strive to speak in positive tones about myself, accept compliments and praise with grace and gratefulness, and try to be the woman in my son's eyes. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

All the feels

This morning I've found myself feeling a little nostalgic, maternal and mushy towards my little 7 month old man. He's doing so much these days, rolling over, pushing up, quasi-crawling, babbling the sweetest unintelligible strings of vowels and consonants and generally warming my heart. 

He's also been difficult this week. All these new activities lead to face planting occasionally, and melting down often. He's hit the separation anxiety milestone head on, crumpling into a mess of sobs when I'm not in his line of sight. It's a challenge, but a phase and I know we'll make it through. 

I was watching him sleep this morning and clearing out the photos on my phone because I've maxed the storage chronicling Arlo's first 7 months. I was looking at these photos of him just a few weeks old and almost got weepy thinking of how quickly time has flown. 

Arlo, 7 weeks
Arlo, 7 months 
Sleeping Babe :)

And so, with a big case of the feels, I wrote this for my boy today:

Precious hands grasping for purchase, gentle tugs at my shirt. Warm contentedness curled beside me. This is love.

Crooked smiles turned to a smirk, deep belly laughs prompted by my tickles. Curious fingers always discovering. This is love.

Frustrated cries from a tumble, anxious glances when I walk away. Needing your mama all the time. This is love.

A softer heart, a softer body, stronger arms for soothing you. A change of title, a change of pace. Priorities and paradigm shifted. This is love.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Sweet Spot

To all my friends who have paved the mommy path before me, let me apologize if I ever inadvertently screwed with your sweet spot. The sweet spot is a window of time in which you can coax your sweet cherubic infant into eating and sleeping without fuss. It is however a small window of time (at least in our case).

Today I found myself chasing the clock to make it home in time for the sweet spot. I failed. The chatty cashier at Target and the retired lady writing a check (WHY DO I ALWAYS GET BEHIND A CHECK-WRITER?!), the gentleman in front of me at the pharmacy counter at CVS with a few too many questions about his medication, and the slow poke in the Prius who made us miss the only stoplight in our neighborhood. Sweet spot BLOWN.

Instead I returned home with a mini-drunk person behaving like a tyrant on a power trip. Now, I'm not talking Gaddafi like violence, but he is every bit as irrational. He's hungry, but angrily swats at his bottle. He's tired, but flails about wildly. The only cure I've found to conquer the mini-drunk/tyrant baby is to wrap him up in his carrier (we use the Ergo) and bounce around the house until he gives in to sleep (usually about 10 minutes).

So, as I began this missive, if I was ever the cause of screwing up your sweet spot I apologize and now understand. To the rest of the world, if you see a mama with a cranky baby behind you in line, step aside. Let her buy her diapers, wipes, tampons and chocolate and get on down the road.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Saying Farewell to Mommy Guilt

There are certain things you expect when you bring home your newborn baby. You can count on a lack of sleep, a plethora of dirty diapers, and for your home to be consumed by baby gear.  Then there are the surprising things that no one tells you about. For instance, people will ask you INCREDIBLY personal questions in group settings, on conference calls, while in line at the grocery store, you name it! "Oh what a beautiful baby, are you breastfeeding?" "Such a blessing. Was it a vaginal birth or Cesarean?" Yes. I've been asked point blank about my vagina by strangers! Manners, folks! There are also the super sexy panties they give you in the hospital. No one told me that both me and the baby would be going home from the hospital in diapers. Just Google it, I'd prefer not to dwell on it. On top of those surprises there are the WIDE range of emotions you experience in your first postpartum weeks. Love, self-doubt, joy, sadness, and the most difficult for me, mommy guilt.

After 6.5 years of trying to conceive, you would think that once our little one arrived, I would settle into the bliss of motherhood, and in many ways I have. I love watching him wake up and give me a big gummy grin because he loves me and knows I'm his mama. I love listening to his cooing noises on the baby monitor when he naps during the day. I love how much he needs me and how I can calm him and soothe him when he's upset. These are all things I can say now. Weeks 1 - 5 were another story. 

Our precious man came home and was FUSSY. Wait, fussy doesn't really do it justice. At least 6 hours a day (basically when he wasn't sleeping) were spent in a struggle to nurse an angry baby who didn't want to latch or have anything to do with my boob, who was only happy once we gave him a bottle of formula (ouch to the mama ego), and still cried inexplicably even after he seemed satiated. Many nights were spend strapping him in the carseat and driving in circles around our neighborhood as it was the only activity that would stop the crying and lull him into sleep. Both me and Ken were ragged around the edges with lack of sleep, and frustration at why we were obviously sucking at this parenting gig.

It was particularly hard for me. I was completely jacked up on the roller coaster of postpartum hormones and desperately wanting to seem like I had it all together. I wanted this for so long. I didn't want to finally be a mom and fail at the task, or seem ungrateful for our amazing miracle. As is my M.O. I wanted to hide this struggle. I didn't want to ask for help. Thankfully my husband knew better. He enlisted the help of a good friend to take me and the baby to Dr.'s appointments, my family to come over and watch Arlo so I could shower or nap, and my best friend to come stay with me for a few days while I was recovering.

Eventually, after meeting with a lactation consultant and sufficiently torturing myself about it, I decided to stop trying to nurse. Arlo was unhappy and unsatisfied with my measly output and I was heartbroken at yet again not being able to do what my body was supposed to do. It has been a tough decision to make while knowing that "breast is best". How could I not give him the best?!? Difficult as it was it was the right call for us. Instead of dreading each feeding time, I now enjoy looking down at my chubby, happy, formula fed baby while he takes his bottle. I know that we are bonding through that time much more than we were through his red-faced crying at my attempts to nurse him. We also discovered that part of his scream-a-palooza (even with the formula) was due to painful reflux and have gotten him on medicine as well as OTC gas drops. AMAZING the difference those little drops have made.

So why share all this? In a previous post, I spoke about wanting to live an authentic life. Part of that authenticity is blogging about the real-deal life stuff that most people would rather hide. It's easy to try to fake having it all together. Post sweet pictures of your baby sleeping on your Facebook and never mention that this was a brief moment of bliss in an otherwise crappy day. I'm also trying to shed a little light on the issue of mommy guilt. We beat ourselves up over whether or not we are doing everything right for our little ones and to be honest, we sit in judgement of other women if we think they aren't. There seems to be a rush post-delivery to declare your parenting style. Are you attachment parenting? Will you use the Ferber method? Co-Sleeping? Breastfeeding? Formula Feeding? Will you wear your baby in wraps and slings or push them in a stroller? There is an endless array of decisions to make and you feel that each of them will dramatically impact the development and psyche of your child. 

So what are we doing? What is our parenting philosophy? I've decided that we will be adopting the "Pro-Arlo and what works for our family" method. I'm trying to trust that I am the expert on my baby (scary thought) and no one knows him like I do. I'm also trying to let go of guilty feelings and realize that I'm giving him my very best 100% of the time. So here we are, doing our very best and loving this little man like crazy. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Welcome to Moderate Momma! My name is Lindsey and I'm a new mother to a beautiful 5 month old boy named Arlo. Along with my husband, I am doing my very best to navigate parenthood. When we brought our son home from the hospital, we quickly discovered that we didn't fit into one particular parenting style. We were doing a little cherry picking from each to find what would work for our family and our little man. Often when doing a little late-night Googling (because what else is a momma to do when she's up every 2 hours?) I came across message boards that were full of absolutes, controversy, and a little mommy drama sprinkled in just for fun. I found that I really didn't fit in any particular group. I'm pretty much in the center. I'm middle class, I subscribe to a moderate political ideology, and don't lean too far in one direction or another when it comes to most parenting debates. My philosophy? Do what works and keeps you and your family happy and healthy (mentally and physically).

I have a feeling that there are more mommas than just me who fit into this moderate zone and so Moderate Momma is born!

The Mission & Spirit of Moderate Momma

  • This is a blog and community where moms can share, learn and grow without feeling they aren’t measuring up. Ideas are shared in the spirit of collaboration!
  • Moderate Momma should make you feel good, provide inspiration and camaraderie,and make you laugh.
  • This is a Guilt-Free zone, no shaming one another for parenting choices.
  • Recognize that all moms are coming at parenthood from different places (socially, economically, culturally, and relationally) and remove "Always", "Never", and "Should" from our vocabulary.
  • No "Pinterest Perfection." I promise to share the good, bad and the ugly without an Instagram filter. :)

Join me on this journey and share your insights and opinions as well! Welcome Moderate Mommas! I hope you'll stay a while.